A Government report claims that Limerick parents are paying an average of €159 per week per child for full time childcare.
The Early Years Sector Profile Report, developed and published by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, revealed that the national average weekly rate is €177.92 – an increase of almost €4 on last year’s figures.
The figures also showed that Limerick parents are paying an average of €90.12 a week for part-time care for preschool age children, and €67.98 per week for sessional childcare.
There are 7,805 children enrolled in childcare facilities in Limerick city and county; at the time the survey was carried out, there were 278 vacant places and 865 children on waiting lists for childcare facilities.
Employees working in the early years sector in Limerick earned slightly less than the national average with an overall hourly rate of €11.98. The national average hourly wage was €12.17.
Early years assistants earned an average hourly wage of €11.07 in Limerick, just below the national average of €11.20.
The turnover rate for early years staff in Limerick in the last 12 months was 24 per cent.
Currently, the childcare sector employs over 29,500 staff across the country, almost 26,000 of whom work with children.
The average qualification level of childcare staff has increased, with 65 per cent having achieved Level 6 which is up by two per cent on last year’s figures.
The 2017/2018 report also revealed that 47 per cent of all staff work part-time, which is three per cent less than last year.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone said: “We are experiencing a period of transformative change in the Early Learning and Care sector in Ireland. More than 200,000 children attended an early learning and care setting last year; an experience that will impact these children positively as they make their way through life. More than 84,000 benefited from the enhanced measures introduced last year.
“The new subsidies we introduced last year have stabilised the cost of childcare, which has only grown by two per cent this year and the new Affordable Childcare Scheme will launch in late 2019. Investment in childcare has grown 117 per cent over recent budgets and these figures show that this is working,” she concluded.
by Kathy Masterson